London Gin & Chocolate – 4 day itinerary

London Gin & Chocolate – 4 day itinerary

4 Days

Gin is currently undergoing a big revival, with new distilleries popping up around London, producing award-winning gins. The London Gin and Chocolate tour gives the opportunity to discover how London’s relationship with gin goes back more than 300 years, visiting two of these new craft distilleries.

Chocolate is experiencing a similar renaissance in the capital – with specialist chocolate shops and chocolatiers combining traditional methods and creative flair to produce delicious and unique flavours.

The best way to enjoy gin and chocolate in London though is to make them yourself, and this itinerary offers the chance to do just that, with fun and educational classes.

Getting around

This itinerary can be enjoyed using public transport and organised tours. The easiest way to get around London is with a Visitor Oyster Card, a pay as you go smartcard which can be used to pay for all public transport in London. The Oyster Card also provides a 10% discount on Thames Clippers boat services, but for those who want to spend more time exploring the river they might be prefer a hop-on hop-off River Roamer ticket for unlimited rides throughout the day.

Pass products

Many of the attractions listed below are included in the iVenture London Attractions Pass, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Kensington Palace and Kew Gardens.

Day 1

Royal Botanic Gardens & Sipsmiths

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Easily accessible on the overground or underground rail network, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is the capital’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site. Stretching across 326 acres of groomed gardens, in West London, it offers a fascinating insight into the natural world through its enormous collection of plants and botanical art.

There’s also more than 250 years of royal history to be discovered at Kew, with highlights including Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, the Great Pagoda and of course Kew Palace. There is also a stunning aerial view of the immaculate gardens from the Xstrata Treetop Walkway and a lush tropical forest to explore inside the humid Palm House.

Sipsmith Sipper Club Experience

As evening approaches, the itinerary makes its way back along the District Line to Turnham Green, in Chiswick, to visit one of London’s most unique gin distilleries. When it opened in 2009, Sipsmith became the first copper pot distillery in London for nearly 200 years. Gaining a reputation for making quality, hand-crafted gins, Sipsmith has rapidly and deservedly become one of the best-known brands in the country.

The tour explores the chequered history of gin, shows how Sipsmith came to be and how the award-winning spirits are made. Naturally, there will be a tasting of them too!

Afterwards the tour continues to one of Chiswick’s finest restaurants, Charlotte’s Bistro, where the gin-filled evening will continue with a delicious gin-inspired three-course supper. When the evening draws to a close everyone will have their very own 35cl bottle of Sipsmith London Dry Gin to take home with them.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity: 1 – 45
Frequency: Tuesday 6.30pm
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Not available

Website: Sipsmith Tours

Day 2

St Paul's Cathedral & the City of London distillery

St Paul's Cathedral

Day two starts at iconic St Paul’s Cathedral. One of the most famous and most recognisable sights in London, the dome of St Paul’s has been a commanding part of the city skyline for over 300 years. Services held at St Paul’s have included the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, as well as the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer.

The climb to the top of the cathedral’s stunning dome is a must, to experience the acoustics and atmosphere of the famous Whispering Gallery. The Crypt can also be visited to see the final resting place of eminent historical figures, including the cathedral’s architect Sir Christopher Wren.

City Of London Distillery

After a spot of lunch it’s time to get creative designing and distilling gin at the City of London Distillery.

After a warm welcome, there will be an introduction to a range of botanicals and, with as much guidance as is required, tour participants can design the recipe and prepare the ingredients for their own gin. Next they will enter the Gin Lab to fire up their mini-still.  They’ll nurture their gin throughout the distillation process, taking tastings and deciding when it’s just right.

Choosing from the wide selection of label templates, or by designing their own, they will then create a label for their bottle of gin (70 cl). The final step is to apply the red wax to seal it.

They can celebrate their creation with a G&T made with the distillery’s own Christopher Wren gin, or perhaps go on to explore some of the historic pubs nearby, such as Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, famously alluded to in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity: Gin Lab Experience: 1 – 30
Distillery Tours and Tastings: 1 – 30
Frequency: Gin Lab Experience: Wednesday 2pm & 7.30pm, Friday 2pm, Saturdays 12 noon and 3pm
Private tours: On request
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Not available

Website: City of London Distillery Experiences

Day 3

Warner Bros. Studio Tour & MyChocolate Luxury Chocolate Making Workshop

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is a spellbinding behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter films. With either the option of taking a dedicated return bus from London Victoria (recommended departure no later than 10am) or London King’s Cross, visitors will be able to see the movies’ intricate costumes and discover how the animatronics and special effects were put together, including Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia, Molly Weasley’s magical kitchen gadgets and the essential tool for any witch or wizard – the flying broomsticks!

Stepping onto the famous cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring Ollivanders wand shop, visitors can explore the interior and grounds of Hogwarts, including the Gryffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, Hagrid’s hut, the potions classroom and more. They will see iconic props from the films, such as Harry’s Nimbus 2000, Hagrid’s motorcycle and the wands of all their favourite (and least favourite!) characters.

New for 2017 – It is now possible to retrace the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they venture deep into the grounds of the Forbidden Forest. Visitors can walk among huge entwined tree roots on their journey through the darkness, meeting Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Aragog the Acromantula along the way.

MyChocolate Luxury Chocolate Making Workshop

On returning to London, this Gin & Chocolate Itinerary gives the chance to perform some more magic with the chance to make one’s own chocolate.

The evening Luxury Chocolate Making Workship at MyChocolate’s canalside location (a 15 minute taxi ride from King’s Cross) is the ultimate chocoholic’s dream. Participants will learn to blend their own chocolate martinis – so decadent that even the glasses are drizzled in chocolate. On top of the cocktail making, there will also be a glass or two of prosecco on offer, accompanied by truffle tasting and chocolate taster platters.

Master Chocolatiers will explain the fascinating history of chocolate, giving insight into how chocolate is made, and sharing insider tips they can show off at dinner parties at home.

Getting creative, the tour involves making tasty chocolate slabs, experimenting with rose, orange, fig and mint to find an enticing taste mix. Participants will then team up in pairs to make fresh cream chocolate truffles and cut, mould and dip gooey milk chocolate fudge, before decorating both treats with luxurious toppings.

Visitors are sure to leave on a sugar high, with full-to-bursting bags of their very own hand-made truffles and flavour-infused chocolates, packaged up in gorgeous ribbon-tied bags.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity: 1 – 48
Frequency: Thursday, Friday, Saturday 6.30pm
Sunday 3pm
Private class: On request
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Not available

Website: Luxury Chocolate Making Workshop

Day 4

Mayfair Chocolate Tour & Buckingham Palace

Chocolate Ecstasy Chocolate Tours

Chocolate Ecstasy’s Mayfair Chocolate Tour shows the sweeter side of historical London and gives the chance to compare creations from the previous evening of the itinerary with chocolate from the finest boutiques in London, some over 100 years old. Delving into the local history of the areas visited, it’s a journey which showcases classic English fondants (a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II), treats from the spiritual home of author Roald Dahl, as well as a creation from Europe’s most-awarded chocolatier – possibly incorporating cheese, beer, spices or just a spin on a classic English dessert like the irresistible banoffee pie.

Tour details

Min – Max capacity: 1 – 8 for scheduled tours, 1 – 50 for private tours
Frequency: Mayfair Tour – Monday, Friday, Saturday 10am
Chelsea Tour – Sunday 11.30am
Ice Cream Tour – Saturday 2pm, and most Wednesdays 6.15pm
Private tours: On request
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Not available

Website: Chocolate Ecstasy Tours

Buckingham Palace & Kensington Palace

The afternoon of day 4 brings a visit to Buckingham Palace (seasonal opening dates and times apply). Visitors can see for themselves the 19 State Rooms, admire the greatest treasures in the Royal Collection, from paintings by Anthony van Dyck and Canaletto to some of the best examples of Sèvres porcelain and English and French furniture in the world. They can also admire the Throne Room, the setting for the formal photographs following the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 29th April 2011. Perhaps the most impressive room of all though is the White Drawing Room, which serves as a royal reception room for The Queen and members of the royal family to gather before official occasions.

The Garden Café on the Palace’s West Terrace is the perfect spot for refreshments and relaxation before finishing the visit with a walk through the Palace Garden.

Kensington Palace is an excellent alternative at any time of year. It gives a fascinating insight into royal life, with a tour of the childhood abode of Queen Victoria, the beloved home of Princess Diana and the current residence of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

A new permanent exhibition, set within the rooms Victoria grew up in as a child, explores her life and reign through her own words. It shows how she felt at just 17 years old, on her first day as Queen at Kensington Palace, and displays letters and gifts exchanged with Prince Albert, glamorous jewellery and poignant mourning clothes.